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Stuck in a No-Win Situation?

Updated on February 18, 2020
denise.w.anderson profile image

An Education Specialist, Denise teaches the principles of Emotional Health for the establishment and maintenance of high quality families.

We often find ourselves stuck in situations where we cannot move forward. It may seem that we are forever searching for a way out.
We often find ourselves stuck in situations where we cannot move forward. It may seem that we are forever searching for a way out. | Source

In our fast-paced world of instant gratification, we easily become frustrated when we can’t make things bigger, better, faster, and more user-friendly. Our impatience becomes evident when we find ourselves stuck in situations where we cannot control the outcome. The choices of others or those we have made in the past form a barrier around us, keeping us from moving forward. There are no viable options, and we feel that something needs to change or we will lose our emotional footing.

Perhaps we are in a dead-end job with an impossible boss, at the end of a relationship that has turned to our detriment, or just receiving a diagnosis that means we will loose our quality of life. It may seem that it is the beginning of the end.

What can we do when we don't have any hope for our own future? Where do we turn when life is at its bleakest? Do miracles exist in our day and age? The answers to these and many other difficult questions are not readily available. However, there is always something we can do:

  1. Choose to learn
  2. Make connections
  3. Prepare for change

Although things seem impossible, there is always something we can do.
Although things seem impossible, there is always something we can do. | Source

Do you feel that you are stuck in a no-win situation?

See results

Choose to learn

Learning is not just for children. As adults, when faced with a no-win situation, we are in a prime position to learn. Choosing to do so is choosing to back down from our desire to get ahead or be on the winning team, and allow nature to take its course. That means we have to give up our desire to control the outcome.

When we relinquish control of the outcome, we give ourselves permission to relax and regroup. We let the situation work on itself for a while. This may seem counterproductive, but as the popular movie Frozen says, when we "Let it go," we suddenly realize that what we were doing by trying to control the outcome was placing limitations on ourselves and others. Removing these limitations gives room for others to work on improvement.

Jim Rohn said that to learn, we need to do three things: 1) read, 2) observe, and 3) listen. The world is a complex place. It is impossible for us to know everything in the short amount of time that we are here. The presenting of problem situations channels our learning and gives purpose to our quest for knowledge.

Learning and understanding go hand in hand. The more we learn, the more we grow in our understanding of how the world works, our place in it, and what we can do to make it better. When we make the choice to learn, we may be surprised to see the situation open up in such a way that our decision making process is enabled and we can go forward.

When we make connections with others, we light up their lives as well as our own.
When we make connections with others, we light up their lives as well as our own. | Source

Make connections

Getting to know others who have been where we are gives us a point of view that we had not before considered. At first, this can be uncomfortable. We aren't sure who to trust or depend upon. At the same time, our eyes are opened and the world takes on a whole new perspective.

Making connections means going where people are. It means talking to them, sharing what is happening in our lives, and getting feedback on the things we are trying to accomplish. It means taking the time to step outside of our situation and see what is happening elsewhere in society and the world.

Each person we connect with becomes an open resource providing guidance, inspiration, and opportunity that can help us deal with our current difficulty. Taking the time to follow-up on these connections brings the added benefits of friendship, enjoyment, and recreation.

The most important connection we can make is the one that brings us closer to our Maker. He, alone, has resources and power beyond anything that we can imagine. As we grow in our ability to connect with His children, we grow in our versatility to serve Him and bring His power into our lives.

This is especially vital when we realize that the situation we are currently in will either worsen, or lead to our eventual death. Our reconciliation with God gives us a reason to keep on going even when the going is at its most difficult. Making the choice to live even when we are staring death in the face may be the most important choice we will ever make.

Preparing to move is all about making choices. If we keep on choosing good until the situation changes to our advantage, we have prepared successfully.
Preparing to move is all about making choices. If we keep on choosing good until the situation changes to our advantage, we have prepared successfully. | Source

Prepare to move

Once we have made connections with the outside world, we open up options for ourselves that did not previously exist. Opportunities present themselves in ways that may be surprising. In order to take advantage of them, we need to be ready.

Preparing to move means different things in different situations. For the person in a dead end job, preparing to move is upgrading the resume, acquiring new skills, reading professional literature, keeping abreast of new developments in the field, and getting to know people in key positions.

For the person in a dead-end relationship, preparing to move means garnering resources, obtaining necessary legal documents, preparing an escape route, making decisions regarding transportation, shelter, and protection, and gathering needed supplies.

During terminal illness, preparing to move is preparing to leave this world. It means getting one's financial affairs in order, seeing that Power of Attorney documents are prepared, a Health Care Directive signed, and wills written. If there are dependent children, provision is necessary for their guardianship.

Sometimes, all we can do, is simply endure to the end. Endurance takes patience, determination, and dedication. When we learn all that we can from the situation, make connections with the outside world, and prepare to move, we are enduring successfully. As we do so, we are able to move on after the fact with our dignity, self-respect, and emotional health intact.

Endurance is the ability to keep on doing what we know is right, even when it appears that we are not receiving any benefits from doing so. It is giving our best effort in the face of opposition, and keeping a positive attitude when others are looking for reasons to complain.

We never know when our situation will change, allowing us to make our move. The ground work we have laid when we felt we were in the no-win situation will determine our ability to take advantage of the current opportunity. It will give us the vehicle whereby we can move to higher ground.

Remember, being in a no-win situation is not the end, there is always something that we can do.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Denise W Anderson


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